Ernie Merrick has thrown his support behind an embattled Markus Babbel, after Newcastle Jets defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1.
Merrick said he sympathised with the under-fire coach's situation at the Wanderers, who are now one match away from equalling the A-League consecutive home loss record.
"I feel for Markus Babbel," he said. "He's doing it tough."
After the Jets took the lead through Dimitri Petratos' superb curling effort in the opening 10 minutes, the floodgates opened.
Western Sydney's defence were slow to pressure the ball and generally disorganised, leading to subsequent strikes for Jason Hoffman, Mathew Ridenton and a brace to Roy O'Donovan.
It was a return-to-form for Newcastle's front third and one that Merrick said was well overdue.
"We've had more shots and created more opportunities than anyone else," he said.
"We thought we could catch them in behind with early crosses and through balls, and that's what worked for us.
"I think Wanderers are a good team, I don't think the 5-1 was a true reflection of the level of the two teams. We were on fire coming inside and setting the ball up."
Newcastle are now eight points adrift of Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United on 26 points each, sitting outside the final's zone in seventh.
While Merrick is restraining himself from acknowledging the sizeable task Newcastle have to make the cut-off, he backed his players' ability to take confidence from this performance.
"The players are really impressed with that result," Merrick said.
"I think they'll feel a lot better with that performance. People have said that Ronny (Vargas) and Dimi (Petratos) can't play in the same team but of course they can, it's all about finishing.
"All we do is play good football, I don't tell them to win five games in a row."